Salt and Light (Word & Deed February Newsletter)
The season of Epiphany, which spans the duration of February this year, is quickly becoming one of my favorite seasons of the church calendar. It is a season to rediscover Jesus’ identity as the Son of God and his mission in the world. From the moment of Jesus’ baptism, to the calling of his first disciples, to his transfiguration on the mountain, we learn about who Jesus is and what he came to do. The season also provide an opportunity to realize that, as baptized disciples of Jesus, we inherit a new identity and purpose: we are salt and light. For several Sundays this month in worship, we will be reflecting on the first portion of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount from the fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. (I am very excited for our leaders Corey Railey and John DiMartino to be preaching on two of these Sundays!) Jesus taught in his Sermon on the Mount that we are “salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). He uses these two simple images to illustrate how we impact the world through our lives. Salt is commonly used as a seasoning. Christians, disciples of Jesus, bring out the goodness of others through acts of love, mercy, and justice. Light reveals a safe path to a desired destination. Christians, through our words and deeds, “illuminate” the path to heaven for others: faith in Jesus and obedience to his command to love God and one's neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40). Indeed, salt and light are powerful images to convey the identity and mission of Christians, Jesus' disciples. There are a number of ways we live as salt and light in the world. One new way we are doing this as a church is through our new miniature food pantry. As people receive food, they experience the love of Jesus, even if they don’t know it. Their lives are improved, just as salt improves the flavor of food. We also bear witness to the truth that Jesus taught: "Blessed are the hungry, for they shall be filled.” People recognize that this service comes through a church, and a positive connection is made with the followers of Jesus. Many of the people who take what is given for the pantry may never come into our building on a Sunday morning, but they will know that they are loved. We will not change the world, but we may change some individual’s opinion about the folks who worship here. Rather than being seen as judgmental and argumentative, we can be known as people who are generous and compassionate, like Jesus. We can be salt and light in a world that desperately needs both.